Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Shall be Released

This post finds me sitting in an ICU in Florida watching my father fight for his life. I fully realize people go through this kind of thing every day, but I haven't before. The range of emotion is simply staggering; fear, anger, denial, acceptance, grief, you fucking name it. But the most frustrating emotion that I can't wrap my head around is helplessness. The feeling that there's nothing I can do to make him better or ease his suffering is beyond anything I've ever felt.

Last night as sat in a quiet room with the exception of the steady purr of pumps and machines, I fell back on the one constant source of serenity in my life in all times good and bad; MUSIC! I wanted my dad to hear all of his favorite songs in the hope it would lift him up and inspire him to fight or give him some peace if he has no fight left.

All my love of music started with my parents and especially my dad. He was a guy who in the 1970s had an album collection in the thousands featuring everything from Charles Mingus to Boston. Genres didn't matter to him and guilty pleasures didn't exist. So I sat for hours last night and today, playing DJ to a one person audience who I couldn't tell was listening but I knew couldn't turn the channel. Music always has the ability to transport you to another time or place. It can remind you of the past or make you think about an alternate future. So many of my memories of my dad revolved around music. He took me to my first and second concerts (Neil Diamond-Jazz Singer tour/KISS-Destroyer tour) when I was 7 years old. I hoped the music would reach him now the way I know it did throughout the rest of his life. I played all of his favorites; Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, The Band, etc. As Dylan was singing to us the bliss of dancing beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, I asked my dad if he could hear it. He opened his eyes, squeezed my hand, and shook his head up and down ever so gently. I don't know how much the music is helping him, but as I sit and listen to these songs with him, I know they are helping me.

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